I have to confess that I am a bit obsessed with our native Wonga pigeons. They are so gentle and engaging. They wander around the garden paths in my Blue Mountains garden every day, just as I do myself.
Our long term, resident pair nest high in a big conifer. As many who follow my posts are aware, the couple went into overdrive during 2020, producing at least eight babies instead of two. It was bizarre, and we joked that they had been motivated by the Covid pandemic. 😎 A more pragmatic suggestion was that this impulse to ensure the survival of their species was triggered by bushfires. Our property wasn’t impacted, but who knows?
As soon as the chicks are old enough they are transferred to a ground nursery, where they remain for several weeks. At intervals they are fed regurgitated ‘pigeon milk’ by the parent birds, amid much excitement and flapping of infant wings.
The location of the nursery is of great importance and sometimes it is moved to a better spot. What amazes me is that the chicks (usually two) sit quietly for hours on end while their parents are out foraging. At the moment we have only one chick, Solo….who looks a bit lonely I have to say.
Solo’s nursery is just next door, beside the driveway of an unoccupied holiday house. It’s very well located, under a large fern.
Importantly, there is shade for those hot summer days, not that we have had many of them this year.
Wonga chicks don’t make a sound, which is just as well, as calling out to be fed could result in them becoming a meal themselves!
On a previous occasion when we had a single chick it rained continuously. In the end my lovely partner constructed a plastic ‘awning’ over the nursery. 🥰
BEDTIME FOR BABY
At dusk the parents start calling and eventually the parents and little Solo end up back in our garden, always in the same Japanese maple tree. They often choose a branch that seems far too fragile for such, well…..plump bodies. My husband worries that there will be a sinister snapping sound, and that our beloved Wongas will end up back on the ground. Sometimes Solo nearly topples off anyway, as his balance is still a bit dodgy.
The babies finally venture out, to sunbathe, stretch their legs and to begin independent feeding.
Solo does seem less keen to explore. I wonder whether the lack of a sibling has reduced his confidence?
Good luck little one. I do hope your ground nursery will soon be obsolete.
UPDATE – February 25. After a stormy morning of driving rain, wind and hail Solo appeared, somewhat dishevelled, but quite OK.
After a bit of preening.
FOR MORE INFORMATON ON THE WONGA PIGEONS, CLICK HERE.